The Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN) strives to maintain a leading position in the field of biomedical engineering by combining creative research with training an interdisciplinary generation of scientists. MERLN’s activities operate at the interface of biology and engineering and aim to maximise outreach at the level of public involvement, development, and the commercialisation of research. MERLN’s vision is based on sharing knowledge, infrastructure, and ambition.
Brightlands is an open innovation community in a global context, connecting four campuses in the province of Limburg: in Maastricht, Heerlen, Sittard-Geleen and Venlo. The campuses provide entrepreneurs, scientists and students state-of-the-art facilities to support development, education, innovation and growth. Naturally, there are close links between all four Brightlands campuses, and together they enable Limburg to serve as an innovation region where researchers and entrepreneurs take on the major challenges in the areas of materials, health, food and smart services.
Scientists from the MERLN Institute and the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) have successfully created in the laboratory embryo-like structures from mouse stem cells. These model embryos resemble natural ones to the extent that, for the first time, they implant into the uterus and initiate pregnancy. This radically new method opens the door to understanding the first and hidden processes of life, problems of infertility, or the embryonic origin of diseases. This scientific breakthrough has been published in Nature. >> read the complete news article.
Research at MERLN is focused on developing novel and breakthrough technologies to advance the field of repair and regeneration of both tissues and functional organs. The strategy includes, amongst others, the development of “smart” biomaterials which can trigger intrinsic tissue repair mechanisms mediated by the patient’s own cells.
MERLN’s scientists are involved in educational activities within different undergraduate and graduate programmes. Their expertise lies in biology, chemistry, materials science and engineering, with distinct emphasis on biomedical applications, including regenerative medicine.
“In 2004 we discovered – quite by accident – that the special surface of certain materials can prompt cells in the body to make bone. That was a Eureka moment.”
"Intelligently designed synthetic biomaterials that can regulate the regeneration of damaged organs and tissues in the body are the future of regenerative medicine. Indeed, we need creativity in materials science and engineering to make regenerative strategies affordable for everybody."
“If we can regenerate bones in such a way that the patient starts moving normally again, this will have beneficial effects for all the other organs. Healthy bones mean better health for the patient and thus healthier aging.”
Scientists from the MERLN Institute and the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) have successfully created in the laboratory embryo-like structures from mouse stem cells. These model embryos resemble natural ones to the extent that, for the first time, they implant into the uterus and initiate pregnancy.